Victims tell how they were unfairly knocked off sickness benefits

130628esaappeals

‘Have 230,000 sick and disabled people been wrongly knocked off-benefit and forgotten?’ That was the question posed on this blog just two days ago, based on an analysis of statistics from the ONS and CESI. Without more input from the Department for Work and Pensions it is impossible to answer the question – but two former claimants have come forward with stories that support the allegation.

“I’m one of them!” wrote Steven Dix on Twitter. “My wife and I are now £400 a month worse off, with IDS’ ‘help’!”

He explained: “When I was on Incapacity Benefit it was indefinitely – then came ESA.”

Mr Dix was put on contribution-based ESA totalling £97 per week – but this only lasts for a year. After that, “I was told that my wife, who is on minimum wage at Asda, earns too much for me to get income-related ESA.

“We were told we could only apply for Working Tax Credits, but guess what? Because I got ESA in the tax year 2013/14 we don’t get anything until tax year 2014/15 when we will have to apply again, and we can’t have anything backdated until then!

“We married on September 3, 2013; we did not qualify for housing benefit between then and December 25, 2013 and so now have £400 rent arrears to make up, and I have to find another £68 for overpayment of housing benefit (the bedroom tax) to pay back for that period too!”

Mr Dix stated that he had been made to feel like a criminal. “My crimes? I’m disabled and got married!

“The government keep on about how they’re helping working taxpayers and how they are helping married couples like my wife and I, but I really am wondering how much worse things would be if we weren’t getting David Cameron’s ‘help’!

“Now of course I have no independant income, I’m unable to work, and only have £168 DLA at the lower rate per month, half of which goes to Wonga.com!”

So this victim clearly deserves sickness benefit because he is unable to work, but has been denied it because of the arbitrary 365-day limit on contribution-based ESA; his low-paid wife can’t claim Working Tax Credits because of a legal loophole and so they have had to take money from a payday loan firm – the one that famously contributes to Conservative Party funds.

How convenient for Wonga.com and the Tories. How devastating for Mr Dix and his wife.

On Facebook, a person going by the moniker Nomine Deus tells us: “I was kicked off-benefit (long term Incapacity) in 2012.

“I am not eligable for Jobseekers [Allowance] or Income Support as my wife works and is paid just over the qualifying amount for one and works too many hours for the other. I live out in the sticks and would be forced to travel to sign on at my own expense and then put onto workfare etc, again at my own expense (or rather my wifes expense). I am forced, therefore, not to sign on at all.

“We are already in fuel poverty and struggling financially. I am still suffering my original condition. I believe there must be many like myself out there.”

These are only two stories of people who have fallen through the holes Iain Duncan Smith has created in what used to be the safety net of social security.

Who can doubt that there are many, many more?

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33 Thoughts to “Victims tell how they were unfairly knocked off sickness benefits”

  1. […] 'Have 230,000 sick and disabled people been wrongly knocked off-benefit and forgotten?' That was the question posed on this blog just two days ago, based on an analysis of statistics from the ONS a…  […]

  2. Yes I am one of them with an even more tragic story Mike

    1. Okay, send us your story and let’s get it out there.

  3. I’m another time expired esa, despite being unable to work so can’t sign on for jobseekers, so what do I do when my hard earned savings run out, sell my paid for home?

  4. Me too…
    Was found fit for work in Jan last year, received my last payment on 31st Jan.
    Was found not disabled enough too claim Dla in dec12 after a twelve month wait for a tribunal. Was 15ins late so they wouldn’t let me in.
    All this sent me to the deepest depths of depression. I found myself too ill to fight anymore, so have received nothing for a year now.
    I really need to reapply, but don’t know if I can handle it. X
    Thanks for reading.x

    1. I was 5 mins late it took 30 mins to demand that I was seen as the panel was eating biscuits and having tea, then they said it would be unfair to have the hearing, but found against me rather than moving the hearing to another date. My complaints about the behaviour of the panel were rejected because they lied that it hadn’t happened that way.

  5. sharon pemberton

    I am another on, was on long term incapacity now about to run out of contribution based ESA WRAG group. Worked for 35 years and no longer able to work due to degenerative back problems, cannot lift or carry anything as I have a fused fracture of the spine which could leave me paralised yet they say i am fit to work

    1. I HAVE EXACTLY THE SAME BACK PROBLEM SHARON, AND YES LIKE YOURSELF WAS TOLD I WAS FIT FOR WORK, AND YES THEY ARE AWARE THAT BY THIER DECISIONS THERE IS A CLEAR RISK THAT OUR CONDITIONS WILL GET WORSE, IF NOT LIFE THREATENING…BUT LOOK, THE DWP ARE ANSWERABLE TO NO ONE, A LAW UNTO THEMSELVES, JUST LIKE THE GOVERNMENT. I HOPE THAT YOU CAN RESOLVE YOUR SITUATION, IM GOING THROUGH THE APPEAL STAGES AT THE MOMENT,,BUT ALL WE CAN DO IS KEEP OUR FINGERS CROSSED, AND HOPE FOR THE BEST…..GOOD LUCK SHARON, TAKE CARE.

      1. Terry, your points are disrupted because you are “shouting” – you have pressed the ‘Caps Lock’ button on your keyboard and left it there. People don’t like it and may not read your comments. I notice you have submitted two more, and they are both “shouting” as well. I’ll put them up today, but if you do it again, I won’t.

      2. sorry I didn’t want to come across as shouting, its just that I have poor eyesight, and caps are much easier for me to see, it wont happen again, thanks for pointing out to me rather that block my replies immediately…terry.

      3. I’m sure you should be able to do something to increase the size of the letters on your screen, but I don’t know what because I’ve never had to do it. Can anybody help Terry?

      4. joanna

        Hi Mike, re- help for Terry you can get monitor magnifiner, or you could click on page, then click on style, then no style. That will put the zoom up to 250 without zooming off the page, you will be able to see al the text but bigger.
        I hope this helps?

  6. We have to get them out. God forbid if they get back in again we have not seen nothing yet but a bunch of Tory liar,s , Young people have not seen what its like with a Tory majority You aint seen nothing yet. believe me.

    1. Ella Hall

      hit it on the nail,Denise Clendinning.

  7. Thomas M

    We have to get them evicted from power before they ruin all our lives. My life has not been ruined yet, but it is only a matter of time if they are not voted out.

    1. Ella Hall

      DITTO! Thomas.

  8. […] Victims tell how they were unfairly knocked off sickness benefits. […]

  9. Hugh

    I was excluded from benefit in April last year for failing to attend an ATOS assessment for benefit migration, I had previously been through the process and been declared fit for work, appealed, rejected, went to tribunal and won, the tribunal gave me the points to make me eligible for DLA but I was never offered it instead I was placed back on income support with the addition of the sickness component which I had previously not received since the beginning of my claim despite it being made on sickness, I was wrongly refused DLA in the first place, instead of putting a mentally ill and vulnerable person through the hellish and stressful process again they could have placed me in the necessary ESA group based on the information from the tribunal but we all know that the process is not about giving people their rightful benefit but actively denying them, I have been treated so disgracefully by DWP and ATOS I have no wish or desire to ever deal with either of them ever again and would rather die of starvation than put myself through their punitive and plainly sick process again.

  10. trudy

    my husband collapsed with a burst abdominal aortic aneurysm, had major surgery to replace the aorta from his groin to his heart, complications in the circulation to his legs, surgeon managed to save that too, he was given a sick note for 3 months initially, but expected it would take anything up to a year to fully recover the physical issues, he was told not to lift, bend, stretch etc., within 6 weeks of being discharged from hospital he was forced to attend a medical, he passed that one, only to be forced up at 9 weeks and told his abdominal problem wasn’t bad enough to go into support group and was fit for work, his 15″ wound hadn’t even healed, he hadn’t even been for hi post op appointment to see if he was healing properly, he was still covered by the sick note, but all this was disregarded, The ‘Abdominal problem’ hardly describes the life threatening collapse/surgery my husband went through, nor does it describe the trauma he suffered, mentally and physically, he was never given the opportunity to repair, heal, he was thrown off ESA and put on the work activity group, 9 weeks, yes, 9 weeks, after near on bleeding to death, no exaggeration, the surgeon said he did his best to die” – is this really any way to treat a man who has paid NI and taxes in this country from the age of 15??

    1. Ali

      9 Weeks after surgery for a ruptured triple AAA ! My god this man has literally been brought back from the brink of death (only 10% chance of survival) with such extensive surgery. It takes at least a year to actually come to terms with what’s happened and much longer, if ever, for the wounds to heal properly due to the sheer amount of surgery involved in this very risky op. Patients are warned never to overstretch, use vacuum cleaners etc for the rest of their days as abdominal muscles are weakened with the surgery. This man is fortunate to have made it through and without any serious post op complications so the dwp/atos have no right to treat him in such a way during a much needed long recovery time. I appreciate the full facts of this as my mother survived the same somehow but had to live with restrictions thereafter. This man should be left in peace to be able come to terms with the trauma he (and his family) have been through. It takes time to even come to terms with the amount of sutures and scarring involved. ! Its disgusting and totally irresponsible. I came on to write about my own experience but am so incensed by this story I’m at a total loss now. I know its all down to the Llima tick box system but its so so wrong.

      1. WELL, THATS THE DWP,AND ATOS HEALTHCARE FOR YOU, THEY ARE GETTING PAID A HELL OF A LOT OF MONEY TO GET PEOPLE OFF BENEFITS, IVE SEEN SOME CASES, BUT THIS ONE,WELL,,,IM ASTOUNDED BY IT…I AM A DWP VICTIM MYSELF, ,,BUT I CANT THINK OF ANY PRINTABLE COMMENTS WITH REGARDS TO YOUR SITUATION ALI….ALL I CAN DO IS WISH YOU ALL THE BEST FOR THE FUTURE, AND I HOPE THAT YOU DO NOT FALL FOAL OF THE DWP, AND IAN DUNCAN SMITH EVER AGAIN….TAKE CARE ALI.

  11. […] ‘Have 230,000 sick and disabled people been wrongly knocked off-benefit and forgotten?’ That was the question posed on this blog just two days ago, based on an analysis of statistics from the ONS and CESI.  […]

  12. MrsSmith

    I’m another one, was on ESA WRAG. Went to JobCentre for a work focused interview but told didn’t need to do anything or go for any more interviews because I was clearly too ill to work. The ESA ran out after 12 months, had to make another application for ESA when I developed another illness on top of disability. ATOS declared me fully fit to work and backdated the decision to the previous 12 months. Took 9 months for appeal which I lost. Went to make a claim for JSA but was refused because they said i’m too ill to work. So get nothing at all.

    1. THATS BAD, ATOS HEALTHCARE, MY BACKSIDE, IT SHOULD BE RENAMED ATOS WEALTHCARE, COS ALL THEY ARE CONCERNED ABOUT IS THE HUGE SOMES OF MONEY THAT THEY GET AS PART OF THE DWP,,,,IVE HEARD THAT THE TOP MAN AT ATOS IS ON OVER £4000.00 PER WEEK, YES FOUR GRAND, HOW IS THAT HELPING TO CUT THE WELFARE BUDGET?….AS LONG AS THERE ARE BIG BUCKS OUT THERE, THEN PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND I WILL NOT STAND A CHANCE,,,,ITS HARSH I KNOW, ,,,BUT IT SEEMS THAT GREED OVERRIDES ANY REGARD FOR THE POOREST AND UNWELL IN OUR SOCIETY….TAKE CARE MRS SMITH.

  13. katiesnan

    Reblogged this on Kims Corner and commented:
    Makes for grim reading 🙁

  14. joanna

    The condems have no reasons to help out the poor as long as their cosy world remains, but what they don’t get is that it is the poor who are maintaining their cosy lives. When they have destroyed the poor, who do you think are going to clean up after them, it is below them to do it themselves in their minds.

    In 1985 Thatcher nearly destroyed me, I left “care” (not at all my fault), I slipped through the net, I wasn’t eligible for benefits until I was 18, at this time I was 16yrs. I earned £28 per week YTS and had to pay my rent. I had very little money left for food and there was no such thing as foodbanks, at least to my knowledge. As a result I ate for 2 days per week, the other 5 days I didn’t eat at all, the social services was supposed to be supporting me until I was 18 or 21.

    They seem be only interested in feathering their own nests and don’t gave any thought to other human beings.

  15. I have claimed incapacity benefit due to being disabled but was taken off and put on esa after a year this has stopped and now have no money whatsoever to live on

  16. I would like to add to my comment that have received incapacity for 20 years past all boards and assessment sent for to qualify for the incapacity have also sent appeal against descision but not heard a thing .attended meetings at local job centre only to be toldi have not attended meetings ,yet attended every appointment asked to turn up for and also told at assesments not required to look for work as to ill to work yet have still stopped esa benefit now that I have received for a year.is there any way I can appeal anywhere about this as have been told by person doing assessment ,no yet even asked while being assessed and told assessor I wanted to appeal yet told I could not.

    1. Yes, you can appeal the jobcentreplus staff should help guide you through the process.

  17. […] Victims tell how they were unfairly knocked off sickness benefits. […]

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